Album Review :
The Devil Wears Prada- With Roots Above And Branches Below

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Artist: The Devil Wears Prada
Album: With Roots Above And Branches Below
Label: Ferret
Release Date: 5/5/2009
Reviewed By: Chris W


01. Sassafras
02. I Hate Buffering
03. Assistant to the Regional Manager
04. Dez Moines
05. Big Wiggly Style
06. Danger: Wildman
07. Ben Has a Kid
08. Wapakalypse
09. Gimme Half
10. Louder Than Thunder
11. Lord Xenu

Back in 2005 I ordered a self released album by a little band called The Devil Wears Prada and immediately fell in love with it. Some people I showed it too thought they wouldn’t go anywhere, others said they would eventually get signed. Jump forward to May 5, 2009 and we find that same band releasing their 3rd major label release. And I have 3 words to describe it: Brutal, Dark, and Epic.

With Roots Above And Branches Below is for me their best work to date. By far this is their most aggressive work yet. The album opens with “Sassafras” which opens with some white noise and a drumstick count in before launching into an unrelenting gallop and breakdown. These guys definitely have a recognizable style. They know how to build up a track and get you into the song. Whether it be from a bone crushing breakdown or the way they create atmospheric echoing sections with their guitars. One of the most noticeable changes on this album from their previous works is the keyboards. Sure on past albums they have occasionally taken the lead, but on this album James Baney became much more aggressive in making his presence known. No longer are there just strings and some synth playing in the background, now there are the sounds of an orchestra playing melodies, supplying the backing, and most excellent synth lines grabbing your attention around its throat. Another big difference I found was Mike Hranica’s vocals, they sound clearer and more intense than on previous releases. This could be due to the way they were recorded I’m not sure but it makes the album all the better. “Big Wiggly Style” opens with a few hits on the cymbal and a dramatic orchestra, its opening alone makes it stick out in my mind. And “Danger:Wildman” feels like the band decided to write the most mosh heavy song they could, and believe me I cannot wait to see it live. The one track that stands out the most is “Louder Than Thunder” which explores new ground for the guys. The song features absolutely no screaming, its a soft and emotional song backed by pianos, strings, electronic drums, and some excellent use of silence. Jeremy DePoyster sings the song very well and it has become one of my favorite tracks by the band.

Stand out tracks: “Sassafrass”, “Big Wiggly Style”, “Danger:Wildman”, “Wapakalypse”, “Louder Than Thunder”

Overall: 3 words: Brutal, Dark, Epic. This is their best to date, and with the way they improve on every release one can only imagine what will come next. These guys aren’t taking the scene by storm for nothing, they’ve got a chemistry not usually found in young groups.

[Myspace] [Label] [Purevolume]

Buy: (available in 3 formats: CD/DVD, CD, and 12″ vinyl [Band’s Merchstore] [Smartpunk] [Interpunk] [iTunes]